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Awtey Dominates Jennerstown

(Jennerstown, PA) The Jennerstown Speedway Complex Officials and track crew battled through a pair of rain delays to deliver a complete program of racing to fans on Riggs Industries Night at the Races, Saturday, September 1, 2018. Repeat winners were Barry Awtey (Martella’s Pharmacies RUSH Late Models), Anthony Aiello (Stoystown Auto Wreckers RUSH Modifieds), Dan Jackson (Farmers Union Co-Op Chargers), and Evan Nibert (Somerset Trust Company Fast ‘n Furious 4-Cylinders). Young Angie Kimberly earned her first career victory in the J&J Truck Equipment RUSH Street Stocks. Prior to the start of racing, over $19,000 in performance parts and gift certificates were distributed to drivers in the three RUSH sanctioned divisions, by random drawings, during the annual RUSH Manufacturer’s Night celebration.

Following the five division racing, the One Stop Auto Sales & Service Enduro launched on the speedway. Dustin Brown started last, and won for the second time this year, lapping every car on the track except second place finisher Josh Dunmyer. Previous winner, Jim Gottschalk, Jr., placed third. The event concluded the 2018 Ron’s Collision Center Enduro Series.

After nearly a decade away from competition, Mark Smith ended his retirement to compete in the “Masters” event at Jennerstown back on August 11th. Saturday, Smith started the 30-lap Martella’s Pharmacies RUSH Late Model feature race from the fourth position, but took the lead on lap one. Smith, known as “The Meyersdale Missile,” was soon forced to maintain the top spot ahead of the most recent winner, Mike “Hollywood” Hemminger. Hemminger started tenth, but was in the runner up spot by lap four. Although Hemminger advanced quickly, Smith pulled away to a comfortable margin of lead. Barry Awtey started eleventh, and advanced up to third position by lap seven. On lap nine, Awtey passed his good friend Hemminger, to secure the second spot. Smith was well ahead of all challengers after one-third of the laps were complete, but Awtey began to gain. The developing battle for first place would match two of the all-time leading winners in speedway history: Smith’s total of 42 Jennerstown victories is third-best, while Awtey has won more races than any other driver in the asphalt era of the speedway. At the midpoint of the race, Awtey made the winning pass, taking a lead he would never relinquish, from the 2006 Champion, Smith. With just three laps to go, Smith’s car slowed, ending his hope of two consecutive “top five” finishes, in his only two appearances, as headed to the pits. Smith also won his heat race. Hemminger inherited the second position, as he is in contention for the season Championship. His rival for the 2018 title, Garry Wiltrout, won a heat race earlier in the night, to break the tie with Hemminger atop the point standings chart. Just as he has in several recent events, Wiltrout paced himself as a non-factor at the start of the race, then surged at the end, to climb into third position with late-race strength. When the checkered flag waved, Awtey scored another dominating victory, pulling away from the entire field to a comfortable margin, and winning by a landslide. Hemminger’s second place finish affords him a lead of one, single point in the standings, ahead of former Champion Wiltrout. Only two point races remain to decide the 2018 Championship. Wiltrout finished third with 2017 winner Bryan Shipp finishing fourth. Rookie, and former Modified Champion, Zane Ferrell earned another top-five finish. Awtey has steered his Wheeler Show Cattle/Stoystown Auto/Pizza Hut Chevrolet to unprecedented domination of the second half of the 2018 season, although the four-time former Champ is not in contention for the title this year.

Recent winner Jarred Barclay wrestled the lead away from rookie, and fellow front row starter, Cindy Rhodes, to lead lap one of the Stoystown Auto Wreckers RUSH Modified 20-lap feature. From the pole position, Barclay maintained his lead, fending off challenges from 2017 winner “Racin’ Jason” Busch. Busch started in fourth place, and pursued Barclay for the first half of the event. Two caution flag incidents at the midpoint of the race damaged the cars of 2018 winners Adam Kostelnik and Pete Rech, while rookies R.J. Dallape and Rhodes were also involved. When racing resumed, Anthony Aiello passed Busch for second place. Aiello started the race in twelfth position, but threatened Barclay for the lead by lap 13. With five circuits remaining, Aiello made the winning pass, and cruised to a remarkable tenth victory of the 2018. The former Street Stock Champion is convincingly headed toward the crown of Modified Champion, in his rookie season. On the final lap, Busch earned a second place finish, passing Barclay, who crossed the finish line in third position. Tom Golik, a 2017 winner like Busch, finished in fourth place, and defending Champion Chris Brink placed fifth. Busch and Aiello were the heat race winners

Point standings leader Josh Coughenour started from the pole position for the 20-lap J&J Truck Equipment RUSH Street Stock feature race. Coughenour is a five time winner this season, but surrendered the lead on lap three, to Angie Kimberly, who started in fourth place. Kimberly, who enjoyed several strong performances in 2018, was forced to defend her lead against challenges from 2017 Champ Lauren Butler. The popular gals pulled away from the rest of the competitors, for several laps. Two time winner Aaron Van Fleet started to gain on the lead duo late in the race. Kimberly, who started her career successfully in the 4-Cylinder division, then spent a brief time in the Charger class, is among the youngest drivers in the Street Stock racing. Having never won at Jennerstown Speedway, when the race began, Kimberly fought off a last lap attack from Butler, to preserve her lead, which was less than a car-length, when the checkered flag waved. A rare female sweep of the top two spots, concluded with Kimberly celebrating in victory lane for the first time. Butler joined in the merriment, happy with her best finish of the year, second place. Van Fleet finished third, with heat race winner Jeremy Shaffer placing fourth. Veteran Rick Meehlieb crossed the finish line in fifth position.

A photo finish concluded the Farmers Union Co-Op Chargers’ 15-lap feature. Veteran Kelly Shaulis grabbed the early lead after starting in second position. Most recent winner, rookie Dan Jackson, chased Shaulis for the first half of the race. The intriguing battle, not only matched seasoned veteran versus freshman, but was also a Ford versus Chevy war. On lap nine, Jackson secured the lead, but the excitement wasn’t over. Points leader Dale Kimberly started ninth, and reeled in Jackson as the laps counted down. In the final two circuits, the lead duo made contact more than once, and had the crowd on its’ feet at the finish – as the pair flashed under the checkered flag just a few inches apart. Jackson, who started the race in tenth position, earned his second-straight victory by the margin of only his front bumper, over runner-up Kimberly. The pair also won their heat races, before crossing the feature finish line side by side. Shaulis, and another wiley veteran Scott Mitchell, placed third and fourth. Steven Brown, just like Jackson: a rookie, converting from dirt track racing this year, finished fifth.

The defending Champion of the Somerset Trust Company Fast ‘n Furious 4-Cylinder division, Brent Bickerstaff, is still seeking his first win of 2018. He took the lead in the 15-lap feature, from his pole starting spot. Bickerstaff paced the field for four circuits, when points leader Even Nibert claimed the number one position. David Campbell, a 2017 winner, advanced to second place, and refused to let Nibert run away. Nibert started in fourth place, and never surrendered the lead, scoring his sixth win of the year – the division leading total. Campbell finished second, with Bickerstaff third. Four time winner Andrew Pluta placed fourth, and Joe Laposky finished fifth. Bickerstaff and Campbell were the heat race winners.

Saturday, September 8, 2018, FFX Trucking presents “FREE CDL NIGHT,” offering free admission for all drivers with a valid CDL license, and one guest to Jennerstown Speedway. Five division “Motor Mountain Mania” racing begins at 6pm, after gates open at 4pm. Also on the agenda, the 2018 Tri-Star Motors Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the Arsenberger Trucking “Salute to Legends” will take place during intermission.

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